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Markus Golden Provides Immediate Boost

Pro Football Focus observations from the Week 9 loss to the Dolphins

LB Markus Golden tries to sack Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa in a 2020 home game
OLB Markus Golden pressures Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa.

Markus Golden was overjoyed when he learned about his reunion with the Cardinals. The veteran outside linebacker showed in his debut that the team should be just as excited.

Golden finished with the second-best Pro Football Focus grade on the Cardinals' defense against the Dolphins, registering a mark of 67.6. Golden had one sack and another that was wiped away via penalty, but PFF actually thought his run defense was the best aspect of his game on Sunday, as he earned a 74.2 grade there.

The Cardinals needed another key player at outside linebacker following the season-ending injury to Chandler Jones, and it seems like Golden should be able to step right in and help fill the void.

Other Pro Football Focus observations from Week 9:

  • Safety Jalen Thompson and tight end Maxx Williams didn't miss a beat in their first game back from injured reserve. Williams had the best overall grade on the team at 89.5, earning stellar marks for his receiving, run-blocking and pass-blocking. Thompson had the top grade on the defense at 76.2, including a coverage grade of 70.7 that was the best on the team.
  • Rookie linebacker Isaiah Simmons played a season-high 32 snaps and finished with a grade of 64.9, which was the fifth-highest on defense. Simmons' coverage grade of 68.8 was second-best on the team behind Thompson, and that included some playing time in the slot.
  • Wide receiver Christian Kirk compiled an 88.0 overall grade after his five-catch, 123-yard performance. Kirk had the fifth-best receiving grade in the NFL this week among players who ran 20 or more routes, pending Monday Night Football.
  • The Cardinals' cornerback shortage was apparent. Kevin Peterson had a 32.9 coverage grade in 15 snaps before suffering a concussion. Jace Whittaker finished with a 49.9 coverage grade in 48 snaps. De'Vante Bausby had a 57.3 coverage grade in 16 snaps.
  • While Kyler Murray finished with dominant statistics, Pro Football Focus wasn't as impressed. He has the ninth-highest grade among quarterbacks this week at 75.5, pending Monday night's results. Murray was given an 80.2 rushing grade, best among quarterbacks, but his passing grade of 66.7 was average.

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